Wearing a wired or electronic tattoo might have started off as something that was a little cutesy or more fun. However, a new type of nanotech tattoo has actually helped us more than we know. A new study from Scientific Reports shows that researchers from Tel Aviv University have been able to develop a thin, non-invasive carbon electrode that is worn on the skin to measure the amount of muscle and nerve activity. The hope is that these "tattoos" can be used to help restore damaged tissue.
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According to the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, Professor Yael Hanein's electrodes were created to be used as an alternative to electromyography, which they call an "uncomfortable and unpleasant medical procedure," that requires electrodes to be placed directly into the muscle tissue or placed directly onto the surface using sticky gel.
"Our tattoo permits patients to carry on with their daily routines, while the electrode monitors their muscle and nerve activity," Professor Hanein explained. "The idea is: stick it on and forget about it."
Pushing even further, Hanein says that the device could be used to study emotional responses to certain situations by tracking facial expressions through the signals in facial muscles. Most other researchers use facial recognition software or subjective questionnaires, but this could prove to be more significant. It will also be a lot more convenient.
"The ability to identify and map people's emotions has many potential uses," Professor Hanein said. "Advertisers, pollsters, media professionals, and others — all want to test people's reactions to various products and situations."
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This is only the start as to what the tattoos could be used for - the future looks very bright in use for amputees, learning, and even plastic surgery.